You might have seen that last month a huge campaign was launched in the UK by Kate Middleton to raise awareness of the importance of early childhood development. It aims to make early childhood development “one of the most strategically important topics of our time”.

As someone who’s dedicated a lot of my career to the topic, you can imagine my delight. Middleton had launched the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood in 2021, and I have been watching closely since. Besides attending the same university with her and her husband, what I share with Middleton is a belief in how important a child’s foundational years are — for themselves and for the future societies they will one day build and lead.

But while awareness is great, it’s only effective if it leads to concrete action. My work encourages more journalism and awareness around the importance of early childhood, which is why I love actively involving you in how this newsletter is built and shaped. Journalism shouldn’t come from the top down. This community is full of people with experience and expertise.

Shaping early childhood journalism

That’s why this week I have a survey for you. If you’ve been here since I launched over two years ago, you will most likely have participated in surveys before. Thanks to your help, for example, I decided to drop a section of this newsletter, and then I scrapped the paywall in 2022, making the content available to everyone.

This year, I want to make sure we are in touch again, so you can shape how the newsletter develops.

So, please fill in this survey. It will only take you between 5 and 10 minutes and I will add your name to a draw. First place gets to choose from a range of fantastic and thought-provoking books. You get to choose among a couple of my favourites, which I wrote about recently: Breasts and Eggs, by Japan’s Mieko Kawakami, US writer Lynn Steger Strong’s Want, or Lynn Berger’s Second Thoughts – On Having and Being a Second Child. Second runners up will receive a gift membership that can be extended to a friend if you are already a member.

You can fill the survey here.

And thanks again for helping shape this community.

What members have been saying

Last week I wrote a newsletter about how YouTube’s best-earning companies are the ones with children’s content, with CoComelon at the top of that list. I started my story saying that you had to be living in a cave if you had never heard of CoComelon. And well, I was wrong.

Many of you wrote: Alena from the Czech Republic, Manu from Belgium, Alba from Colombia, Joram from Germany. And they proved me wrong. They all have children who are toddlers, and none of them had heard of CoComelon before. You wrote about limited screen time, reading books instead of watching TV, and watching other shows instead of YouTube’s top-earning hit.

Well, thanks for doing that and for helping me think twice about my assumptions — this is what I love about being in touch with this community. Do your messages mean that CoComelon is not as popular as it seems? I don’t think they do, but they are a good reminder of how I need to check my assumptions and be more careful with my writing.

Weekly newsletters will be back next week, February 23, with recommendations and essays. Thanks for your support of my maternity leave and for your understanding of my slower pace as I figured things out as a mother of two.

With love and care, 

📣 The First 1,000 Days is edited by community member and friend, Shaun Lavelle.

Photo credits and alt-text: Towfiqu barbhuiya su Unsplash, child hand writing on a paper.

This is not a space to simply comment. This is where you take part in the community.

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